It has been a busy week for Uber’s lawyers in America and Europe. In the US, Uber has fallen foul of employment and data protection laws, while the French government got the green light from the European Court of Justice (ECJ) to proceed with a case against the $56bn firm.
Drivers are not employees
A US judge in Philadelphia has ruled that limousine drivers for Uber Technologies are independent contractors and not the company’s employees under federal law. US District Judge Michael Baylson said Uber does not exert enough control over drivers for its limo service. The judge said he was the first to rule on the classification of Uber drivers under federal law. The plaintiffs say they will appeal.
Uber settled with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), following a failure to disclose a data breach during a 2016 FTC investigation. The concealed breach exposed data on 57 million users, which Uber paid two hackers $100,000 to hush up. Acting FTC Chairman Maureen K. Ohlhausen said, “After misleading consumers about its privacy and security practices, Uber compounded its misconduct by failing to inform the Commission that it suffered another data breach in 2016 while the Commission was investigating the company’s strikingly similar 2014 breach.”
Illegal in France
The ECJ ruled France may proceed with criminal charges against Uber executives for running an illegal taxicab service. A 2014 prohibited taxi services from using unlicensed drivers when carrying fewer than 10 passengers, essentially banning Uber in France. Uber argued it is a "digital service" requiring EU notification, but the ECJ found the French law regulates Uber as a transport service excluded from notification requirements.